Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
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vowlvom
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by vowlvom »

Loads of songs. Loads of good songs. Excellent work, everyone.

Absolutely Credible - there's a lot of stuff I like here. Plenty of hooks, in the vocals and instrumentation (I really like that organ riff that opens the song), and some smart lead guitar work on the chorus. Minor critique: The distorted guitar on the verses feels a bit messy compared to the crisp composition of the rest of the song. Slightly larger critique: Every time I listen I'm like 99% confident that it should get a vote until I get to that last chorus which goes on for way too long. But I'm mostly into this, and I think I probably will vote for it.

Asteroids 57801-57900 - this sounds like it must have been exhausting to play and record! I think I'd have responded a little better to the high-energy approach if the song was a little shorter, I feel like most of the sections could be trimmed down a little and increase the overall effect. But there might be a little genre bias creeping into that. Pete's vocals remind me a little of Ian Brown on this one for some reason. I like being able to properly hear the cool drumming on the instrumental breakdown section. It's pretty good, on the whole! But not one of my favourites overall.

Balance Lost - a really nice spacious sound this time around! I enjoyed this after a couple of full-on soundfests from you. That guitar tone is gorgeous, and I'm quite into the odd rhythmic shift from the verse (which I assume is in some kind of unusual time signature that I can't figure out) and the chorus (which isn't). My only real criticism is that your vocals sound a bit tinny on this one, I'm sure the EQing was intentional but it makes things a bit fizzy and sibilant. It bothers me on headphones but sounds OK in the car, so not a big thing - still a definite vote.

Berkeley Social Scene - I like the atmospheric synth arp bits a lot, and the pre-chorus and chorus are really solid. The verse has that "I am figuring out the melody as I go" first-drafty vibe to it though which holds this back from being among my favourite BSS songs, and the vocal harmonies in the later chorus feel sloppy where they need to be as tight as the crunchy rhythm guitars! One other thing I liked was the jazzy switch-up in the chords in the second half of the verse, which actually reminded me of the other BSS a little bit.

Cheeky Pants - this is very charming but definitely feels like an unfinished song rather than just a short song. The backing vocals are also more prominent than the lead vocal which doesn't really work for me. There's enough here that I definitely hope to hear more from you! But not enough for this to fully work for me.

The Cow Exchange - roughly 95% of this is my favourite song of the fight. I love the crunchy bitcrushed synths and drums, and the chorus is so catchy that I found it stuck in my head after a single listen which is a very good thing! The lyrics are intriguing too, they have the same not-quite-right quality as your last entry but with a more engaging storyline. The 5% that I don't like is those crazy key-shift notes in the second and fourth lines of each verse. It's a bold choice but really didn't work for me at all. I think I like everything else enough to still vote for this though!

Darkanon Viva - the main riff / loop is pretty cool but the vocals are so tinny and hard to decipher that I couldn't really find a way into this. Also there's like a minute of silence at the end, a little quality control please!

Future Boy - this is well executed and produced, the drums in particular feel unusual and interesting. The melody and chord sequence feel a little generic though and the lyrics never really clicked with me, they feel like they're going over well-trodden territory without offering any new twist on the theme. I feel like some vocal doubling / harmonies would have added a lot (which is something I thought about a few of the entries for this fight actually, prepare for me to repeat myself in many of these reviews).

gizo vs. the 17,455 - I really like the lo-fi acoustic guitar sound, and the general weary vibe to the vocal reminds me of the first Wheat album (I love Wheat). The distorted guitar kinda sinks this one for me though, it has a tone that isn't particularly pleasant and just seems to do its own thing throughout the song in a way I found distracting.

Glenn Case - this one grew on me quite a bit over the course of a few listens. The acoustic guitar part is memorable and the melodies are good, with the pre-chorus standing out for me. I really wish the chorus had something to give it a lift, some backing vocals or keys or something. But I think this has worked its way into my affections enough for a vote!

Hot Pink Halo - this is the new mic, right? Sounds good! I like the dreamy guitar sounds too. The vocal melody gets into a bit of a monotone / robotic pattern a few times though which I wasn't really into, I found my attention drifting.

James Owens - I love this one. It feels like simple, classic songwriting but without feeling clichéd, and your voice is a perfect fit. Love the chiming, wide-panned guitars and the way you've incorporated the synth-arp challenge subtly but in an extremely effective way. Definite vote!

Jeff DeSantis - this one is well executed but for some reason it just doesn't stick in my head at all. I'm going to have to write this one off as solely personal taste I think because I have no real critique, it just didn't make much of an impression on me.

Lichen Throat - the single-note guitar parts made me smile, but on the whole this didn't feel like your best work. The lyrics are generally solid but never pulled me in like some of your stuff, and your voice sounds generally good with that trademark deep resonance but there weren't any real hooks to grab me.

Lily Plus Martin - like your previous entries this has some impressive, unusual production and the twin vocals sound great. It didn't grab me quite as much as your previous couple of songs, for some reason - possibly it's just excessively sombre and lyrically oblique for my idiot brain. But it still falls in the "admiration" category, there's a lot to like here.

The Magnetic Letters - torn on this one because it's very impressive, you may have employed some tuning but even so the falsetto soul vibe isn't an easy sound to accomplish and you did a good job! The lyrics kinda make it feel like a novelty track though, without really making me laugh, which is an awkward middle ground. I like the synth arp sneaking in there at the end; I do not like the saxophone.

miscellaneous owl - great stuff, I love the shift-up to the aggressive, chaotic sound for the verse and the dynamic way it drops into that catchy chorus with the big tremolo-guitar chords. There's a lot going on here and I guess the mix might benefit from more clarity but I'm partial to the way this sounds right now, tbh. Vote!

Paco del Stinko - I kind of have some genre bias against this one but also think it's pretty great. I'm definitely more a fan of your janglier, poppier stuff than the more hard-rocking side of Paco, but the chorus riffs are excellent and as usual, everything sounds just right. Maybe vote!

Phlebia - yet another one where I'm out of my musical comfort zone, but I think I'm going to have to vote for this one because the unholy cacophony that it spirals into is totally awesome.

Slither - there's some nice guitar work in here, I like the mix of the crunchy chords with the chorussy / jangly stuff. I still struggle with your vocal style though, and that's on me - you've found a style that works for you and I respect that.

Soulflowsteve - I really like this rhythmically, your vocals have a really solid feel to them. The music is cool too, but everything kinda hits in the same way for the full duration and leaves this feeling pretty long to me. I'm not hearing anything hugely interesting in the lyrics to hook onto either, which leaves me enjoying this for the first minute or so and then just hearing more of the same.

Third Cat - it sounds like you're having fun with synths here, I like the moment where the pad swells and takes over everything and the way the song goes Full Electro later on is very cool, although I wish that section had a little more bite and energy to it, maybe increasing the tempo or some more bass would have won me completely over.

TOSHIRO - this is catchy and fun, with solid power-pop vibes. I love it when the big AAAH! backing vocals come in. There are a few instrumental parts that feel like they could be a bit tighter to really nail the sound, but I enjoyed this a lot and it is getting another vote!
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lichenthroat
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by lichenthroat »

Lots of good songs this week! Thus, lots of votes.

Absolutely Credible—All the instrument tones sound good. I like the unrestrained vocal, as well as the acoustic guitar in the pre-chorus. This song effectively brings a lot of seemingly disparate elements together in to a cohesive whole. Vote.

Asteroids 57801-57900—This sounds like the introductory track to a concept album about a dystopian future. I think it’s done pretty well, but I’m not sure how listenable it would be over the long term. I particularly like the section that beings with the little keyboard solo about two thirds of the way through.

Balance Lost—The guitar notes seem both meandering and purposeful at the same time—kind of the best of both worlds. I can imagine this as the most listenable track on an otherwise hard-to-approach math rock album. Positive overall impression. Vote.

Berkeley Social Scene—The vocal conveys emotion well. I like the verses more than the chorus; I think maybe the claps take me out of the delightfully melancholy atmosphere of the rest of the song. The verses are great, though. Vote.

Cheeky Pants—I like what you have here, but I’d like it more if it was longer. I like the lush backing vocal, but because of the way the lead vocal is recorded and/or processed, it sounds a little thin in comparison.

The Cow Exchange—This is fun, and it’s executed well. You have a clear concept that feels fully realized. Not my preferred genre, but otherwise there’s little to complain about, so I like it anyway. Good work. Vote.

Darkanon Viva—I’m unfortunately not a fan of the affected vocal, nor of the keyboard melody. I do like the clear rhythm, though.

Future Boy—The lyrics are funny and well written. Some of the melodies strike me as overly familiar. Your vocal delivery is a good match for the lyrical content. I like the mellow vocal contrasted with the energic instrumental music. The bridge is a highlight.

gizo vs. the 17,455—Good execution of 90s slacker rock. I don’t have a lot to comment about, but I like the song overall. I think the string squeaks at the end enhance the atmosphere of the song. Vote.

Glenn Case—I like the chunky rhythm when the second verse resumes after the first chorus. The melodies are somewhat at variance with my songwriting sensibilities, that’s just a matter of personal taste. Good performances.

Hot Pink Halo—This sounds like there’s a piece missing, but I’m not sure what. More drums? Another guitar layer? I like the chorus melody, as well as the passion of the vocal.

James Owens—The guitar is so clean! The sounds like it ought to be a folk standard. I think a little more pitch variation in the vocal melody might be the cherry that’s missing from the top, but nevertheless, this is a good song. Vote.

Jeff DeSantis—Well produced, well conceived, well performed. Very nice. Vote.

Lichen Throat (me)—I had to warp the composition to accommodate my limited guitar skills. It’s amazing how bad I am at something as simple as playing a single note repeatedly. I think I did a better job than usual at conveying emotion and intensity in the vocal, so I was happy with that aspect of the song. I find that a lot of my songs begin to sound amateurish to me a few months after I record them, but this one sounds amateurish to me right now, which makes me hopeful that I may soon get better at recognizing and correcting flaws before I’m done recording.

Lily Plus Martin—This has a few short sections where I really don’t like the melody, but the rest of it is amazing. For example, the melody during “outside-world-shaped hole” just sounds wrong to me, but most of the rest is marvelous. So much tension, so much atmosphere. Vote.

The Magnetic Letters—The sax solo sounds good. This isn’t my cup of tea, but the performances are good, and the lyrics are funny. Nice mix.

miscellaneous owl—This is great. The keyboard arpeggios really enhance the song, and your vocals and melodies are excellent as usual. This week’s favorite. Vote.

Paco del Stinko—I could almost imagine this is in a Halloween rock opera. The melody doesn’t quite hook me, but your guitar performance is great.

Phlebia—Your voice sounds good, and the instruments work together to build a well-realized atmosphere, but this needs to pick up at some point.

Slither—This sounds like the 70s and 90s smashed together. It works, though. You have a cohesive vision, and you followed it through. I like the quiet guitar in the background of the second verse—nice touch. The instrumental bridge is good, too. Vote.

Soulflowsteve—The grew on me after repeated listens. Your vocal delivery is good. Not my genre, but competently executed.

Third Cat—I think this is one of your best songs. The melodies are good, the instrumentation is innovative, and it all comes together well. I wouldn’t mind another verse at the end. Vote.

TOSHIRO—Rock solid. Evokes 80s pop rock. Simply a good-sounding song. Lots of nice little touches with the timing. Vote.
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by gizo »

vowlvom wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:39 am
gizo vs. the 17,455 - I really like the lo-fi acoustic guitar sound, and the general weary vibe to the vocal reminds me of the first Wheat album (I love Wheat). The distorted guitar kinda sinks this one for me though, it has a tone that isn't particularly pleasant and just seems to do its own thing throughout the song in a way I found distracting.
Thanks all for the reviews.

There's been a few comments around this song relating to 'lazy' or 'sloppy' or 'weary', and they are all legitimate. I was trying to slide somewhere in that range, while maintaining a deliberateness of direction. I'm not sure I quite got there. The lead guitar is certainly a little sloppier than i would have liked (in particular those notes that missed), and the outtro section didn't have the punch that I would've liked.

This was recorded in a single late night with a bit of whisky and not many re-takes. I was having terrible trouble mixing it into anything nice, so Toshiro made it listenable because he is better than me (in general, and in particular).
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furrypedro
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by furrypedro »

Whew, that was a long session. Thanks to all who submitted, listened, reviewed, and most of all the admin.

Here are my opinions.

Lily + Martin: There's nothing offensive here, though my first few listens left me with an impression of missed potential. The recording is solid but doesn't develop enough over its four minutes. Until Martin's vocals come in the various instruments that dip in hold my interest and hint at a building tension, but it seems to break down after that, and from that point on it doesn't feel like it goes anywhere. Good performances generally though, and I like the arrangement ideas that are there.

Toshiro: The verses turned me off a bit, but the turns this song makes in the various sections are pretty cool. Each section has a change up that I quite like, such as the drum pattern changes, the backing vocals, and the brass bits at the end of the chorus - not that I'm especially into brass, but you use it really well here. All of those things won me over and my feeling of this song overall is positive.

Future Boy: The main thing that struck me about this is that the songwriting seems incredibly conventional. What I mean is it sounds like exactly the kind of thing I'd expect from a folk singer doing a generic GnG song, with the twist that you've made an electro track of course. While I like the way the instrumentation develops, particularly in the final minute, the lyrics and delivery feel to stilted to make any connection with me. Too many obviously rhyming couplets and lacking any flair.

Phlebia: This does feel a bit like you got so shagged out playing drums for the Asteroids track that you could only manage 60bpm for this song, haha. When this kicks in I feel like I'm being sucked into my speakers by this sonic black hole. I've been listening to a lot of Talk Talk this week so I'm in the mood for music that is at first inaccessible but full of texture and space and this ticks both of those boxes. I particularly like when the drone comes in around the 1.30 mark. The gloom is compelling.

Darkanon Viva: Always good value, I was pleased to see you in the list this week. Immediately the groove in this squelchy bassline and the organ get me on side. It's a very nice tight little riff. The vocals undermine it somewhat, they add a novelty element which I think the song doesn't need. While I agree that the tune deserves a vocal with a bit of swagger, I understand that can be difficult to pull off if you don't have a naturally soulful voice (which is most of us). So, good foundation. Needs work.

Misc. Owl: This got me thinking about how many British singers there are that sing about (and specifically namedrop) their own country in songs compared to the ocean of singers from the USA who do the same. I counted 2 (one was Billy Bragg - THE quintessential "English" singer, the other was a football* song). But aaanyway, enough about that. This song stood out in the fight for me. The intro is sweet and bouncy, and the rock is welcome when it arrives. I particularly love the halftime drums and those little hi-hat rolls. I'm a sucker for that. I've a feeling you did in it another recent song, but I don't care, give me more. I also love songs that break down for the chorus rather than going higher for a crescendo. The dynamic shifts all over are great and follow just the right momentum that the song needs. The one thing I was a bit unsure of is, although I appreciate the attempt at the challenge and I'm a fan of synthy indie, these arps struggled to find their place in the mix. They felt either muddy and too loud, or detached in some way. Still, it's a minor thing that doesn't detract from a great song.
*the one played with feet, not hands

Gizo: I was sure I listened to all these songs earlier in the week but this one seems to have passed me by. Maybe that's cos it's boring as fuck. Nah, just messing with you! It is a bit slow but I actually dig it. AbCred mentioned Archers of Loaf earlier on (not in relation to this song) and the slacker fuzziness of this reminds me a bit of them. It has a similar feel to some of Glenn Case's recent tracks also. I like the main acoustic riff, it stops the song from just being a strummy acoustic song and I like the nuance the passing notes add. The final section is cool the way the lyrics are kind of staggered over that riff, nice trick. That "aaah" at the end made me chuckle. Yeah, I like this. Album track, not single, but good.

The Magnetic Letters: I've had Young Americans on my phone for about 3 years and this reminds of the album tracks on that. I always struggle not to skip them, cos although I like Bowie this downtempo blue-eyed soul doesn't hit me in the feelies. The saxomophone solo has a real karaoke track vibe about it. I like the way you sing the title, that section, and the whole arrangement is well constructed and tight. Just didn't really do it for me. The arp feels super tacked-on and yet it's probably my favourite bit.

Slither: The chord strums on the first beat of every bar technique really doesn't inspire me at all. STM doing his best STM impression saves this fairly meat and potatoes arrangement. It's all competently put together, and the middle bit with the start-stops is nice.

BSS: I like the intro but I was worried it would eventually settle into a conventional beat/rhythm and right on time that's exactly what happened. Once I got over that this is a pretty decent song. The mix of twinkly keys and crunchy guitars is cool. By about 2 and a half minutes I've got the point and pretty much everything after that is excess. I think I prefer the backing vocals to the lead vocals.

Soulflowsteve: Some of this I think is awesome. The beats and screeching instrumentation with big ol' sub bass is great, and for the most part the vocals are too. But the "ooh oohs", sorry, I just can't get past it, they ruin it for me. There are other parts when you try to add a bit of melody and it's off key, but that's not a huge problem, it's just the oohs, and they're everywhere. Everything else is good.

James Owens: There's absolutely nothing wrong with using conventional chords but I love to hear some kind of invention in an arrangement, and this just doesn't offer anything that I've not heard before. You've got yer A, D and E chords, you throw in an F#m to switch it up, you do a rudimentary finger picking, a vocal melody that sounds somehow familiar, bish bash bosh...folk song! It's pleasant and wistful and the pads are nice, but I'd love to hear something like an inversion, a signature shift, even a well-placed wrong chord to wake me up. Or try the lazy musician's (i.e. my) way out, an open tuning.

Jeff de Santis: In the category of "music my parents could listen to" this gets it right where I feel Jimmy Owens fell down before you. This is really well written. I like how the bass follows that "hard to do" etc. lines, and the while the chords are just as simple as Mr Owens (except in Fmaj I believe?) you employ them with much more subtlety in order to support the vocal, rather than just being something over which you can sing some couplets. Nice tune, I can image it being sung by Billy Joel or Springsteen.

Hot Pink Halo: I've listened to this more than the others. Partly because I was thinking about how to criticise it but in a way that is encouraging. There's so much good going on in here. I like the understated way it ticks along, it's soft but in a way that has this jaggedness under the surface. Like it wants to break out but it can't and that tension makes it cool. I love the shimmering guitars and things going on in the background, is that a trumpet? The harmonies really add a richness and depth to the melody. My criticism is a production one, and this isn't production fight, true, but I feel a song and it's production are inextricably linked so here goes. I just feel it's a little too loose. I don't know how many times you re-recorded your vocal, or how much time you have to spend on meticulously correcting little timing errors. I have received the same criticism I'm giving now and so I got into the habit of going through each of my vocal tracks and redoing all the bits that anyone could possibly complain about, and now people don't complain about it any more (mostly). I guess it depends how often you listen to your own stuff too. If you listen to your own songs regularly, like I (shamelessly) do then it's satisfying knowing you put a lot of effort into getting a particular thing right and it now sounds wicked. I feel like I've gone on too long about it, but I just wanted to say it cos I feel your songs deserve that extra level of attention.

Cheeky Pants: Sounds kind of nice in a 90s Sheryl Crow sort of way. The backing vocals are a wee bit too loud though they do also sound nice. What's here is good, but it's an half-idea rather than a fully realised song.

Absolutely Credible: When you said Barenaked Ladies doing Archers of Loaf I think you pretty much nailed it. I love the Archers, not so much the Laydeez. Generally it seems like a fairly well-constructed song, but some of the changes seem a bit disjointed, like the acoustic guitar seems almost artificial and doesn't seem to sit in the mix so well. I'm not sure how well the sections flow either, although individually I like each section. It's almost like you've got three different bands in a room doing an exquisite corpse live, which now I think about it would be an awesome idea. The other thing is it does outstay its welcome about a minute too long, but that did give me enough time to finish this review, so, swings and roundabouts.

The Cow Exchange: I can successfully operate a volume knob so I am satisfied with the loudness of this song compared to others. This is probably the most sincere song I've heard you ever do and it freaks me out a little. The "scooped your eyeballs" line is more in territory I expect but in the context of the verse it makes sense. Love those crunchy drums, and the synthy squirts scattered throughout the song are great. Catchy little number, sticks in my head and says goodbye just as I'm thinking it's hometime. Nicely done.

Glenn Case: This sits really snugly amongst your recent output. It's got a cool kind of lazy day feel to it like Mac Demarco crossed with Harvest Moon Neil Young. Everything's in it's right place. Not a single thing I can fault here (which kinda sucks cos I LOVE slagging things off). Nice job.

Third Cat: I wanted to check the lyrics for this, it sounded like you said "that's why I slipped it in". Also, did you rhyme better with better? I like how I can never tell how your songs will end from the intro. The way the electronics creep in halfway is really cool, and while there is a slight only-half-a-song element to this track I appreciate that you let the beats linger for a while before cutting it off. The synths in this sounds really nice too.

Paco: Paco cares not for your pathetic arpeggiator challenge, we'll have no click tracks here. This is pretty cool. I have a fairly shitty knowledge of 70s rock, who does this sound like? Alice Cooper? Dunno, but it sounds like it be a good song to drive down the highway to while being chased by bats. I'm curious to know who you had in mind while writing this song (as in, the song's subject, not the musical influence). It chugs along nicely, the solo is rippin and it breaks down well before lurching into the final verse. Always good fun.

Lichen Throat: Couple of things I thought about this one; it's interesting how your guitar playing style is pretty similar whether you synthesize it or play it yourself. I assume you have read previous reviewers comments (not this fight necessarily) about the sloppy timing of the vocals, I may be wrong but I can only assume at this point you just don't care any more. This track has 2 things in particular going for it, the lyrics are decent (although the delivery slightly undermines it) and the cadence I think you were going for is pretty good, also in spite of what appears to be a fairly rudimentary playing ability you are trying to get some invention into your tracks, exemplified in this case by the unconventional drum pattern and guitar line, and I always commend that. It may not always be pleasant to listen to but it's got ideas that many others both here and elsewhere are either not interested in trying, or are afraid to.

Asteroids: Me n Apples&Vodka who apparently was drumming along to jungle radio when he recorded this. I take responsibility for the mix, and specifically the muddy snare sound. But it was fun to make something that sounds like Shitwife.

Balance Lost: Me again. Been listening to the latest American Football so I thought using 10/8 was a good idea until I tried writing lyrics over the top of it. The pre-chorus lyrics I'm not happy with and need a rewrite maybe, the chorus lyrics I am very happy with but AbCred is almost definitely right that I should trim a syllable here and there, and any accusations of "white boy rap" are completely justified as I have form in that area.
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Æpplês&vØdkã
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by Æpplês&vØdkã »

furrypedro wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:47 am

Phlebia: This does feel a bit like you got so shagged out playing drums for the Asteroids track that you could only manage 60bpm for this song, haha. When this kicks in I feel like I'm being sucked into my speakers by this sonic black hole. I've been listening to a lot of Talk Talk this week so I'm in the mood for music that is at first inaccessible but full of texture and space and this ticks both of those boxes. I particularly like when the drone comes in around the 1.30 mark. The gloom is compelling.

Asteroids: Me n Apples&Vodka who apparently was drumming along to jungle radio when he recorded this. I take responsibility for the mix, and specifically the muddy snare sound. But it was fun to make something that sounds like Shitwife.
Minor correction: I wasn't playing along to Jungle Radio, I was recording to a click-track but playing as-if I was playing along to jungle radio. A minor, totally insignificant difference! And yeah, I thought there'd be a certain, subtle humor to making my solo track at 65 bpm while I cranked the tempo to 179 for our collaboration. "Hmm, this bassline is uncomfortably slow. I better slow it down even more, and lets make it as depressing as I can" was sort of the thought process. But "sonic black hole" is a description I like -- and exactly what I was going for with the screeching violins, downtuned bass, distorted cymbals, and talk of memory degradation. So yay!

I figured the extreme sluggishness of it would lose a couple of people (sorry about that Lichen! Apparently our fungally named projects aren't totally in sync with each other's tastes...oh well!).

And me and soulflow, I think that was somewhere in the 85-90 range? I'm not sure.
I'm afraid this one fails on pretty much every level for me. - Jim of Seattle

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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by crumpart »

furrypedro wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:47 am
Hot Pink Halo: I've listened to this more than the others. Partly because I was thinking about how to criticise it but in a way that is encouraging. There's so much good going on in here. I like the understated way it ticks along, it's soft but in a way that has this jaggedness under the surface. Like it wants to break out but it can't and that tension makes it cool. I love the shimmering guitars and things going on in the background, is that a trumpet? The harmonies really add a richness and depth to the melody. My criticism is a production one, and this isn't production fight, true, but I feel a song and it's production are inextricably linked so here goes. I just feel it's a little too loose. I don't know how many times you re-recorded your vocal, or how much time you have to spend on meticulously correcting little timing errors. I have received the same criticism I'm giving now and so I got into the habit of going through each of my vocal tracks and redoing all the bits that anyone could possibly complain about, and now people don't complain about it any more (mostly). I guess it depends how often you listen to your own stuff too. If you listen to your own songs regularly, like I (shamelessly) do then it's satisfying knowing you put a lot of effort into getting a particular thing right and it now sounds wicked. I feel like I've gone on too long about it, but I just wanted to say it cos I feel your songs deserve that extra level of attention.
So this was the first time I added drums to a track and the first time I've ever played bass (I'm not counting the first entry I did, where @Toshiro played bass and mixed for me). I had to google how to play bass, but apparently forgot to google "what is the purpose of bass guitar" and what happened is that I completely neglected to use it as a percussion instrument. I essentially made a melodic bassline that drew on the root notes of the chords. I changed my drums after I recorded the bass, and had them "following along", at least theoretically, but made the mistake of not soloing the bass and drums together to see if they were in sync properly. I also forgot to tone down the drum solos, so they threw things out even more. I realised all this after I'd sent the song in an then listened to it on a different speaker that highlighted the issues far more than my normal headphones. I thought about fixing it before the fight went up, but decided not to because that's what I managed to make in the time. I did go back for myself to simplify the drums and fix up some of the mistimed bass notes. Then I listened to it again it was better, but still not gelling rhythmically. Couldn't figure it out for the life of me. It wasn't until @Toshiro heard me trying to record stuff for Personal Space and pointed out my complete and utter misconception of bass that I realised what I'd done. So for Personal Space I've gone 100% New Order with a melodic bassline that I played doubled with a synth bass. I might go back and redo the bass in a similar way for this one to see what it sounds like, but as it's about a vampire having an existential crisis, I do kind of like the looseness and not-quite-pulling together of some elements.

(Horns are a trumpet, french horn, trombone and tuba, all improvised and deliberately left a little loose in terms of timing.)

tl;dr Thanks Song Fight! for teaching me things!
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by furrypedro »

crumpart wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:37 am
So this was...the first time I've ever played bass ...and what happened is that I completely neglected to use it as a percussion instrument. I essentially made a melodic bassline that drew on the root notes of the chords.

...but as it's about a vampire having an existential crisis, I do kind of like the looseness and not-quite-pulling together of some elements.
It took me years to work out that the bass and drums should link up, so you're ahead of me there. Kudos on your first bassline btw!

And yeah, I was thinking that about the crisis feel of your track that maybe the looseness works. I suppose the question you have to ask yourself is "is this what I was really going for, or am I retroactively trying to justify a recording error?" I've definitely been guilty of the latter in the past. There is always the risk that by making everything perfect you iron out any nuance in the track, but I don't think that should put you off trying to tighten up the rhythm a bit.
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by AJOwens »

furrypedro wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:47 am
James Owens: There's absolutely nothing wrong with using conventional chords but I love to hear some kind of invention in an arrangement, and this just doesn't offer anything that I've not heard before. You've got yer A, D and E chords, you throw in an F#m to switch it up, you do a rudimentary finger picking, a vocal melody that sounds somehow familiar, bish bash bosh...folk song! It's pleasant and wistful and the pads are nice, but I'd love to hear something like an inversion, a signature shift, even a well-placed wrong chord to wake me up. Or try the lazy musician's (i.e. my) way out, an open tuning.
I'm not sure if that's a critique of this particular song, or well-meaning compositional advice. Sometimes I get into modulations and harmonic surprises, but then I sound like warmed-over Burt Bacharach (Precipitation) or Procol Harum (Where You Can Go) or Pink Floyd (Look at the Sky). If you love to hear invention of that sort, that's where to look.

Folk songs tend to use a few simple chords, but they're often remarkably inventive in the use of rhythms and larger patterns. This song has some idiosyncratic features in the verse lengths and the pattern around the Aeolian cadence. To me it didn't seem to need any signature shifts, or inversions other than the ones inherent in open guitar chords. The only thing that bothered me was that it spent too much time on the A between verses, but I couldn't see how to fix that without breaking the mood. I tried to use the optional challenge to help fill in the boredom.
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by owl »

furrypedro wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:47 am
Misc. Owl: This got me thinking about how many British singers there are that sing about (and specifically namedrop) their own country in songs compared to the ocean of singers from the USA who do the same. I counted 2 (one was Billy Bragg - THE quintessential "English" singer, the other was a football* song). But aaanyway, enough about that. This song stood out in the fight for me. The intro is sweet and bouncy, and the rock is welcome when it arrives. I particularly love the halftime drums and those little hi-hat rolls. I'm a sucker for that. I've a feeling you did in it another recent song, but I don't care, give me more. I also love songs that break down for the chorus rather than going higher for a crescendo. The dynamic shifts all over are great and follow just the right momentum that the song needs. The one thing I was a bit unsure of is, although I appreciate the attempt at the challenge and I'm a fan of synthy indie, these arps struggled to find their place in the mix. They felt either muddy and too loud, or detached in some way. Still, it's a minor thing that doesn't detract from a great song.
*the one played with feet, not hands
Glad you enjoyed this, thanks for the feedback! For the record re the synths, addressing your and @Æpplês&vØdkã's comments about it, I was attempting to substitute in a low-register synth for an actual bassline, so that was the sonic space I was trying to let the lower synth arpeggios occupy. (There's a higher one that comes in partway through the first verse but I'm assuming that's not the one @Æpplês&vØdkã was suggesting shifting up an octave.) But I guess I kind of ate up that space with guitar. I tried shifting the low arpeggio down an octave but it sounded farty and weird. Taking the guitar out made it all sound kinda weak. One of these days I'll hopefully manage to scoop out an appropriate place for all the instruments I want to put into a mix.

re British songs, surely you're leaving The Clash and the Sex Pistols off your list... I think "America" has a nicer meter to sing than "the UK" or "Great Britain," I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I feel like along with being more likely to talk about the USA we are also generally more likely to sport American flags, do you think this is true? (I mean you are in Japan these days, right? but I assume things haven't changed that much) It's pretty common to see people wearing American flag shirts or with flags in the front yards or on their trucks or whatnot. I have only ever been to England once but it seems like it might be less common to walk around with a Union Jack bikini or t-shirt or whatever? Or is that not true and I was just there at a particularly unpatriotic time and/or place?
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by crumpart »

owl wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:06 pm
I feel like along with being more likely to talk about the USA we are also generally more likely to sport American flags, do you think this is true? (I mean you are in Japan these days, right? but I assume things haven't changed that much) It's pretty common to see people wearing American flag shirts or with flags in the front yards or on their trucks or whatnot. I have only ever been to England once but it seems like it might be less common to walk around with a Union Jack bikini or t-shirt or whatever? Or is that not true and I was just there at a particularly unpatriotic time and/or place?
As an Australian, I can confirm that I find it quite jarring that people from the USA have flags everywhere. We had a flag at primary school, and very occasionally (like, very, very, very occasionally) you’ll see a house with a flag out the front, usually in the country somewhere. It’s the same here in Ireland, although patriotism is maybe a bit more common and accepted here due to a history of oppression and conflict. Australians will vocally support our country in sports and defend Vegemite to the death, but extreme patriotism and flag waving makes us very uncomfortable on the whole.
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by lichenthroat »

furrypedro wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:47 am
Lichen Throat: I assume you have read previous reviewers comments (not this fight necessarily) about the sloppy timing of the vocals, I may be wrong but I can only assume at this point you just don't care any more.
To the contrary, I am continually concerned about my vocal timing, but I am simply not very good at it. I think I have a below-average sense of both timing and pitch, which, coupled with my complete absence of musical education, puts me at rather a disadvantage. I do think I have a decent sense of composition, however. By all means, please keep commenting about things that are wrong at my songs; it's often hard for me to observe problems that are evident to lots of other people.
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by Æpplês&vØdkã »

lichenthroat wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:24 pm
l

I do think I have a decent sense of composition, however.
I agree with that statement. Personally while you may not have the most technical skill I do usually enjoy what you come up with. And anything you've made is immediately recognizable as you!
I'm afraid this one fails on pretty much every level for me. - Jim of Seattle

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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by lichenthroat »

Æpplês&vØdkã wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:32 pm
lichenthroat wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:24 pm
l

I do think I have a decent sense of composition, however.
I agree with that statement. Personally while you may not have the most technical skill I do usually enjoy what you come up with. And anything you've made is immediately recognizable as you!
Thank you. I appreciate the kind words!
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by AJOwens »

Twenty-three songs is a lot of reviewing. My stamina may have faltered now again, but I hope I treated everybody fairly. I'm trying to offer helpful criticism where I can, but I think I'm from another generation, which sometimes feels like being from another planet.


Absolutely Credible -- Tight, crisp, sound, with some hard edges. The singing within this bracing milieu is often very convincing, occasionally less so. A great organ sound and perfomance lend a lot to the song. The songwriting stays interesting, but the parts that repeat the title could be shorter.

Asteroids 57801-57900 -- Packed with energy, driven by machine-gun drumming, urgent guitars, and robotic voices. Futuristic punk nihilism done well, but 2:40 would be a good point to begin fading.

Balance Lost -- A relaxed, very modern vibe, with an open architecture of pleasant intervals where the dreamy vocals can move freely and spontaneously. If there's melodic or rhythmic repetition, it's difficult to make out without concentration. For contrast there is a sharply metronomic approach, offering an anchor in a sea.

Berkeley Social Scene -- An interesting fusion of sounds from many genres, coming together into a whole that is uniquely, recognizably BSS. It works. I especially like the octave-coupled guitar accents, which add distinctiveness and hookiness to a song that otherwise might blend in too easily with a rock/country-rock/jazz background. The singing is emotive in an effective and understated way. The hand claps hint at a pop song, slightly incongruously.

Cheeky Pants -- This short entry seems like the kernel of a song, or perhaps the tail end where it's fading out. Good singing, with an edge that reminds me a little of Alanis Morissette. Catchy loop, nice harmonies.

The Cow Exchange -- This seems to aim for a certain mainstream modern sound with influences from funk and techno. It does a good job of putting a personal stamp on that sound. The leap of a sixth in the vocal jumps out unexpectedly; apart from that this is a good dance-floor number.

Darkanon Viva -- An arresting sound, with minimalist groovy tones and an unearthly vocal. I like it.

Future Boy -- The lyrics grab me at once. The song seems built to support them. The music has a busy undercurrent, which gives it a lot of interest, although sometimes it stands out a bit. The music is lyrical and tuneful, the singing has a personal quality, and the arrangement develops and fills out nicely.

gizo vs. the 17,455 -- This has a remarkable slow-burn energy, but it sometimes falters. An easy suggestion would be to speed it up, but to keep the relaxed attitude it might be better to make the acoustic guitar coast along more, say using compression. Also this needs bass. But the song keeps a good vibe once the listener settles in. The ending is a little disruptive, replacing the smoothness with a sudden angularity, although I like the angularity in its own right.

Glenn Case -- A fine song, with complex harmonic moves and syncopations in the tradition of Steely Dan or Joe Jackson. Very well done, and with a recognizably original sound. Good performance and recording.

Hot Pink Halo -- I like the sound you're going for, open and solemn to go with the lyrics. The textures are a strange blend to me, but they work. The chord changes sustain interest. There is something drifting about the rhythms. I think the song would come out better if the instruments were more precisely on-beat, but that would radically alter the overall effect, so maybe I'm missing the point.

James Owens -- I remarked earlier on the problem with those long A-chord pauses. I also worried about the strings being too syrupy. I messed with the MIDI arpeggio for days. Eventually my wife started calling the song, "I Used to Like It Better."

Jeff DeSantis -- Very natural, open sounds in the recording and production. Sweet singing. The chord moves are good, at times reminiscent of Tom Petty. An effective pause after "awake" brings the song into focus anew. Relaxed playing. The words and phrasings move the song forward very slowly, which makes it seem longer than its 3:38 run time, but the length is supported by the mood. The ending reminds me of something, maybe a Paul Brady song.

Lichen Throat -- Good lyrics as always, and the music is making progress as you bring more instruments into your repetoire. A friend noticed that you favour a certain sort of hard beat, kind of "one-two" "one-two," with larger rhythmic patterns woven around it but mostly hitting those beats. This may be just your musical preference, but as I understand you're learning about music, I'd suggest trying some syncopation. For an example, listen to the bass in Hot Pink Halo's entry; in the first verse it's hitting beats that are musical, but off the exact one-two marks (they're on the eighth beats or something). In the chorus it moves onto the one-two beats in a more regular way. (I hope I'm not totally out of line with this advice.)

Lily Plus Martin -- The opening piano chords strike a very sombre tone. When the bass comes in, there seems to be a lot of energy in the extreme low end of the spectrum, making it a bit murky. Apart from that, this develops a very well-balanced palette and mood. Martin is a good singer, but Lily's voice is exceptional, and the high-quality recording and reverb bring out its dreamy quality.

The Magnetic Letters -- There is a certain song on the charts these days in which someone sings like this, as if stimulating himself indecently by frotting the mic stand. I assume you are taking the mickey out of it, and if so, I thank you for taking the mickey so beautifully. If not, I've made a horrible mistake, it's a lovely song.

miscellaneous owl -- The lyrics are full of striking images ("Your teeth of rusting Cadillacs") and the final message is very powerful. It's almost as if the poetry is "shredding" a virtuoso display of metaphors, lead-guitar style. It's an impressive tour-de-force, but it feels a little intense as it storms from one brief, brilliant moment to the next. The music is interesting, sometimes pretty and wistful with a nod to contemporary folk, sometimes dark and urgent with a hard-driving alternative sound. It's difficult to make these contrasts cohere into a song with a single overall effect.

Paco del Stinko -- An oddly limping rhythm marks this energetic entry. The tune is less precise than others of yours, but the playing is great and the Zappa-like delivery is lots of fun , as always.

Phlebia -- This brave hypnotic experiment in extreme slowness develops to a brilliant climax attentively and deliberately, without ever sounding like it's on Quaaludes. At almost five minutes, it doesn't feel too long, which is an amazing accomplishment. I like it.

Slither -- A crisp beat-driven sound built around a traditional combo with Farfisa, adorned with tasty, unexpected chord choices and arrangements. Effective backing vocals of the "whoa-whoa" variety. The melody has a limited range, and despite a natural bluesy quality in performance, it gets a little repetitive.

Soulflowsteve -- An exciting if somewhat challenging soundscape built on a brigade of drums and something that might be called a sky saw, although I think Brian Eno already used the name for something else. The vocals give it momentum, but it starts to falter around 2:14.

Third Cat -- This passes from one phase, where there is a slightly abstract-sounding vocal over a guitar/bass/drums groove, to another, markedly more abstract section involving some great synth work. I love the sounds going on behind that synthesizer swirl.

TOSHIRO -- Pretty good rocking sort of song, with a bit of commercial punch here and there. The brass in the hard left works surprisingly well. A stylish ninth chord brings it to an uncharacteristically showmanlike ending.
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by furrypedro »

owl wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:06 pm
furrypedro wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:47 am
Misc. Owl: This got me thinking about how many British singers there are that sing about (and specifically namedrop) their own country in songs compared to the ocean of singers from the USA who do the same. I counted 2 (one was Billy Bragg - THE quintessential "English" singer, the other was a football* song).
re British songs, surely you're leaving The Clash and the Sex Pistols off your list... I think "America" has a nicer meter to sing than "the UK" or "Great Britain," I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I feel like along with being more likely to talk about the USA we are also generally more likely to sport American flags, do you think this is true? (I mean you are in Japan these days, right? but I assume things haven't changed that much) It's pretty common to see people wearing American flag shirts or with flags in the front yards or on their trucks or whatnot. I have only ever been to England once but it seems like it might be less common to walk around with a Union Jack bikini or t-shirt or whatever? Or is that not true and I was just there at a particularly unpatriotic time and/or place?
Not sure how I could forget the Sex Pistols (or rather, I know exactly how that's possible - by being an ignoramus!). It's possible that America does have a cadence that's easier to slip into a lyric, but I don't believe that's the reason. I reckon it probably has more to do with the uniquely American habit of making school kids do "patriotic" things every day from a young age; I don't know what other countries have a pledge of allegiance but this would go down like a turd in the Pimms in the UK. As crumpart said, outside of sports events, the proms and racist rallies we're not really a flag-waving nation. Since Britpop/Spice Girls ended the only people sporting anything with a Union flag on it are probably tourists.

However, it's definitely (probably) true that British singers are just as likely to sing about their hometowns. The Clash, for example, namedrop London and it's various locales like their going out of fashion, Blur do the same, and it's a theme which extends to lots of local bands from almost every part of the nation. I think the only time I hear Americans do this is if they're singing about New York, LA/California or if they're John Darnielle. If I had to guess I'd say that means we're more likely to identify with our hometown rather than our country, when it comes to writing lyrics anyway.

crumpart wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:40 pm
...defend Vegemite to the death
You can take our lives, but you'll never take our VEGEMIIIITE!

lichenthroat wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:24 pm
furrypedro wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:47 am
Lichen Throat: I assume you have read previous reviewers comments (not this fight necessarily) about the sloppy timing of the vocals, I may be wrong but I can only assume at this point you just don't care any more.
To the contrary, I am continually concerned about my vocal timing, but I am simply not very good at it. I think I have a below-average sense of both timing and pitch, which, coupled with my complete absence of musical education, puts me at rather a disadvantage. I do think I have a decent sense of composition, however. By all means, please keep commenting about things that are wrong at my songs; it's often hard for me to observe problems that are evident to lots of other people.
"Below average sense of timing and pitch" made me chuckle. Apologies for misinterpreting you, and I agree that you have a decent sense of composition. Keep persevering and I'm sure the other things will improve over time.

AJOwens wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:12 am
I'm not sure if that's a critique of this particular song, or well-meaning compositional advice.
Definitely the former. Not to say it wasn't well meaning, but my suggestions always have the aim of making the song more like something I would enjoy, which is not necessarily what you or anybody else would enjoy, and therefore should be disregarded as appropriate. Thank you for your comments btw!
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by owl »

furrypedro wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:10 pm
I think the only time I hear Americans do this is if they're singing about New York, LA/California or if they're John Darnielle.
New York, California... hey, wait a minute! At least I mentioned Indiana, too.

oh wait, cities, you were saying. I knew I should have snuck the pleasant-sounding towns of East Fishkill or Poughkeepsie into those lyrics instead of generic "upstate NY".
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by crumpart »

owl wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:11 am
furrypedro wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:10 pm
I think the only time I hear Americans do this is if they're singing about New York, LA/California or if they're John Darnielle.
New York, California... hey, wait a minute! At least I mentioned Indiana, too.

oh wait, cities, you were saying. I knew I should have snuck the pleasant-sounding towns of East Fishkill or Poughkeepsie into those lyrics instead of generic "upstate NY".
There's an Aussie song that just names places, but our most famous good one is From St Kilda To King's Cross by Paul Kelly. He likes his naming places in Australia songs, as did Cold Chisel. Apparently he wrote this at Don Walker's piano in King's Cross (Don Walker was the main Cold Chisel songwriter), which is a nice little carry over.

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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by owl »

crumpart wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:01 am
There's an Aussie song that just names places, but our most famous good one is From St Kilda To King's Cross by Paul Kelly. He likes his naming places in Australia songs, as did Cold Chisel. Apparently he wrote this at Don Walker's piano in King's Cross (Don Walker was the main Cold Chisel songwriter), which is a nice little carry over.

thanks for sharing, that's a lovely song, I'd never heard of Paul Kelly or Cold Chisel or Don Walker. (That piercing sax at 1:37 made me jump!)
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by crumpart »

owl wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:36 am
thanks for sharing, that's a lovely song, I'd never heard of Paul Kelly or Cold Chisel or Don Walker. (That piercing sax at 1:37 made me jump!)
Paul Kelly is an Australian icon. Whenever To Her Door plays our hearts collectively break.

Last edited by crumpart on Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by crumpart »

Time for some reviews! Some of these were written at the start of the week, some were written just now. Quality may vary.
***
In an odd turn of events, I appear to be having an almost opposite reaction to this batch of songs than almost everyone else so far! I'm choosing to take that as a good sign, as it means I have opinions at least?

Toshiro
Yes.

I was going to leave that at a one word review, as you already know my opinions about this song, but I have to elaborate and confirm that this is my number one favourite of the fight. I love everything about it, except for the bit where you excitedly told me that after 20 years you thought you might finally be writing a song for me, only to pull a My Best Friend's Girl and divorce me in the second verse. No more songs about divorce please, or I'll develop a complex. I love the horns, I love the chorus, I love the backing vocals. This makes me dance and it will be getting an animated music video somewhere down the line. The last chord is perfect.

Third Cat
I like this well enough, but there's something about the melody and structure that's just not quite gelling for me. It feels a little like a few quite good ideas that are not quite finished yet or something, but on the whole it's enjoyable.

Soulflowsteve
There's things about this that I don't think are great production wise, but I don't know enough about production to tell you what they are. Helpful! I like the song though. The vocal delivery is pretty fun.

Slither
There's lots of good things about this. I don't know why I don't love it. I'd say "genre bias", but that's not it. I think maybe it just feels a little predictable for my liking? I don't know. Maybe it's that it's a bit long?

Phlebia
This is too slow and sad. I like that you're trying different things, there's a good build and I appreciate what you're going for, but I just don't want to listen to it again. It reminds me of back when Toshiro used to write DVD reviews for a website, and we were sent the saddest, most depressing film of all time, and I think his review was something like "if this film were pudding I wouldn't be able to get off the couch". That being said, this song might work in the context of a film or something, but I don't think it works for me as a "song". I tend to think that songs about this kind of subject matter actually work better as up tempo type things, because they trick you into enjoying them before you realise that the lyrics are a total gut punch. My favourite example of this is Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody", which now that I'm an adult, feels like a really succinct description of the effects of bipolar depression and loneliness. It's so sad, but it also makes me dance around my kitchen. I'm not saying "make a Whitney Houston song", but hey, that would probably be a challenge for you at least!

Paco del Stinko
This is one of those one's where I enjoyed it but it left my brain pretty much as soon as it ended. Happily listened to it while I worked, but didn't latch on to any particular part.

miscellaneous owl
This is my second favourite of the fight, and probably only second because your first verse isn't about me, tbh. I think the vocals get a little muffled when the change comes in, but thematically I feel like that might be a deliberate choice. While I love a good G&G song, I'm glad you were pushed out of your comfort zone by the arpeggiator challenge because I think the contrast really works. I like opposites in my music, and I think that sad songs and protest songs generally work a lot better when there is stylistic contrast. One example that comes to mind is the time Ryan Adams covered Taylor Swift's entire 1989 album and deliberately highlighted the sadness in the songs by setting them to Sad Bastard arrangements. I tried to listen to it and hated it, because it was just sorrow piled upon sorrow, and it was all too much. Back to your song, when I initially read through the lyrics I thought "wow, that's a lot of words, how is she going to fit all those words in?", but you did and it was great. The line about rusting Cadillac teeth wins best lyric of the fight.

The Magnetic Letters
I want to call in and request this on Alan Jones' radio show. It would be a perfect moment in broadcast history. The line about German measles and France makes me laugh out loud every time. The whole thing is very clever and I love the lounge feel.

Lily Plus Martin
"I used to know you better" seems like perfect duo material in retrospect. I like the piano here, and I like that beat that comes in underneath near the start. Some of the later synth stuff starts to lose me a bit. I think the two halves of this song don't quite gel in the way that I want them to.

Lichen Throat
I love the way this one ends. It feels very succinct and perfect for the song. The only thing that I was really going to mention here was the timing thing (I know, I know, it's rough for the other person who people have been pulling up for timing issues this round commenting on someone else's timing...) but having read on through the thread it's good to know that it's something you're working on. I do very much think that a sense of rhythm is something that can be improved though, and this is going to sound like a SUPER WEIRD suggestion, but have you ever considered taking dance classes? Even something very non-specific like a really basic Zumba exercise class can do wonders over time for rhythm. Back in Australia I used to go to a dance exercise studio where I did adult ballet, hip hop, jazz and Zumba-style classes for a couple of years, and my natural sense of rhythm and timing drastically improved. The hip hop classes in particular were very fun. Sometimes you feel like a giant idiot because you forget left from right, but then you remember that everyone else hiding in the back row feels exactly the same way.

Jeff DeSantis
I like this well enough, but it's another one of those songs that feels a little predictable and is just washing over me.

James Owens
I really like this. I enjoy this style of music a lot in general. Your melodies are lovely and I like the arrangement. You don't need that processing that you've put on your voice; it makes it sound kind of metallic in parts, which pulls me out of the song mentally. The other nitpick that I have is that all the sounds feel very much on the same level, like it's been compressed a lot or something. It makes my ears a bit tired and I think the song would really benefit from having a wider dynamic range.

Hot Pink Halo
It's me! I think I probably talked enough about this in my response up above somewhere, so I'll just mention that my goal for this one was to try and tell a story with an economic use of words. I also wanted to play around with repetition, and slowly using that repetition with small changes to twist the perspective. Two songs that I was hitting up as influences were Damn These Vampires by The Mountain Goats (especially the line "sleep like dead men / wake up like dead men") and Why Am I Like This? by Orla Gartland.

Glenn Case
There's absolutely nothing wrong with this, it's just not really standing out for me. Happy to listen to it while I'm doing other things.

gizo vs. the 17,455
Love it. Others have mentioned that the vocals are too crisp or loud and I couldn't disagree more. You have a voice and delivery that I'm jealous of, and as per other comments I've made here about contrast, the starkness of the vocal mix really amplifies the despondency of the lyrics; if they were fuzzier and buried, it would just be sadness on sadness and too much. Sometimes doing the opposite of what your natural inclination might be is the best option. I know you think your own guitar playing is sloppy, but it works for this song. I love the flubs and the sigh at the end. I've found myself randomly singing this all week because the melody is great. My one problem with it is the final line of the chorus; it sounds like something you just made up when you were singing it, and it doesn't make sense grammatically. I keep either changing "bought on you" to "brought on you", which still doesn't make sense, as it should be "brought on yourself" in that instance, or I accidentally sing "all the bad things that you bought online", which I actually do kind of love. That being said, I know you had "computer said no" issues with this, so I'll give you a pass on that lyric.

Future Boy
As someone who's spent at least six years of life in art school, I very much feel these lyrics; they're great. The song is really sweet. I was pleased that someone else sang about mirrors to reinforce the cover art that I submitted for this one. The song itself is maybe a bit predictable but the opening line is wonderful, and it reminds me of the Mountain Goats song You Were Cool, which starts with "These are the same four chords I play most of the time when there's something on my mind, and I don't want to squander the moment having more complicated ways to say what I wanna say".

Darkanon Viva
I was really enjoying the instrumentation on this (apart from the distortion glitches) and then the vocals started and oh god I'm sorry but I hate it. I can't listen to the whole thing again. That kind of vocal delivery is like nails on a chalkboard for me. I was relieved when the minute thirty of silence started, where I gave you the benefit of the doubt and listened to the whole thing, wondering if maybe this was a Song Fight! ghost track 90s flashback moment. But no. Please listen to your songs to make sure they exported properly before sending maybe?

The Cow Exchange
This is very loud. Too loud. I'm fine with adjusting my volume here and there, but this was so loud that it gave me a literal jump scare and I pulled my headphones out as fast as possible. It didn't help that it came right after Darkanon Viva's 1:30 of silence for me (my podcast app lists these in descending order, unlike the order that most people are listening in), but it's just too too too too too loud. Volume aside, I think the chorus is pretty nice, but I find myself not remembering anything else about this song almost as soon as it's over. Everybody else seems to love it though, so maybe I'm the weird one?

Cheeky Pants
Had to turn the volume up dramatically after the Cow Exchange song, and the song was over before I could pay attention! I like short songs. I feel like the hard pan of the guitars has to be a deliberate choice, but I feel like whatever the reference may be is too oblique and it just comes across as distracting.

Berkeley Social Scene
I like the arpeggios and synth sounds in here, but the vocal loses me a little. I feel like there are maybe too many ideas going on, and they're not coalescing for me.

Balance Lost
This song and owl's made me realise how differently Australians say asphalt than people from the US and the UK. Apparently Australians (myself included) and Canadians say "ash-felt" and the rest of you say "ass-fault". Nobody knows why. Ass-fault aside, the more I listen to this the more I like it. I particularly like the twinkly synth sounds towards the end.

Asteroids 57801-57900
This is pretty fun. It's not entirely my cup of tea, but I quite enjoyed listening to it. I'd like it to be a bit shorter, for no particular reason other than it feels like it should be.

Absolutely Credible
I really like the higher parts of the melody here, but overall I feel like the person singing this is trapped inside a tiny box. The instruments feel all very much on the same level, and the vocals don't stand out enough; for me, this is making the whole thing feel really strained. It makes my ears feel tired, and the repetition of the line in the chorus, combined with chorus repeats, combined with the length of the song in general make it seem way too long; my headphones agreed, as the second time I tried to listen to this they ran out of power and cut off at about the 3:20 mark, which felt about right. Apparently it made me want to write run on sentences in reviews. My headphones aren't playing well with my phone currently, and on all the other tracks this occasionally resulted in a small glitch, and then the song would start playing again at a normal level. The first time I tried to listen, this happened during your song and instead of a glitch I got a loud pop, which scared the living daylights out of me and made me wonder if you're pushing the compression a little too hard or something?
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Smalltown Mike
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by Smalltown Mike »

Just wanted to say that phlebia track is really well done. Definitely achieved what (I assume) it set out to achieve. Great ominous plodding vibe.
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Lunkhead
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Re: Remember that one time? (I Used To Know You Better Reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Darkanon Viva wins. Huh.
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